SK's drug unit plans to go public early next year: source

SEOUL (Reuters) - A biopharmaceutical unit of South Korea's SK Holdings 034730.KS plans to go public early next year, a person familiar with the matter told Reuters.

Last week, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration gave SK Biopharmaceutical approval for its treatment for partial-onset seizures in adults.

SK Biopharmaceutical filed an IPO application on Oct. 25 and the Korea Exchange is expected to take three months conducting its review, the source said.

The company is expected to raise over 1 trillion won ($847.9 million) from the IPO, making it the largest IPO since mobile gaming company Netmarble’s 2.7 trillion won deal in May 2017, the Financial Times reported.

A spokesman confirmed an IPO plan, but added its timing and size has not been decided.

Citigroup C.N and NH Investment & Securities 005940.KS are managing the deal.

SK Holdings, the holding firm of South Korea’s third-biggest conglomerate, created SK Biopharmaceutical in 2011 when it spun off its life science business.

It widened its operating loss to 139 billion won last year, from 98.9 billion won in 2017, according to its stock exchange filing.

Reporting by Hyunjoo Jin and Heekyong Yang; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore